While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 25 edition

150 dead in plane crash in French Alps

A plane operated by the budget carrier of Germany's Lufthansa crashed in a remote area of the French Alps Tuesday, killing all 150 on board in the worst aviation disaster on French soil in decades.

The accident's cause remains a mystery but authorities have recovered a black box from the Airbus A320 at the crash site, where rescue efforts were being hampered by the mountainous terrain.

Victims included 16 German teenagers on a school trip, and the mayor of their hometown called it "the darkest day in the history of our city."

At airports in Barcelona and Duesseldorf, the departure and destination, some relatives let out wails of grief as they struggled to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones.

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Malaysia Airlines tweets condolences to family, friends of Germanwings crash victims

Malaysia Airlines was quick to post its condolences to the family and friends of victims of the Germanwings tragedy early Wednesday morning.

MAS, still reeling from the crashes of two of its planes last year, wrote on its Twitter page: "Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of those onboard Flight 4U9525. We are with you."

Germanwings said the Airbus A320 plunged for eight minutes into an inaccessible mountain area in southeastern France.

French aviation officials said the plane had made no distress call before the crash near the ski resort of Barcelonnette.

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Islamist 'Army of Conquest' in new assault on Syria's Idlib: Monitor

Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and Islamist factions launched a multi-front offensive on Tuesday against the regime-held northwestern city of Idlib, a monitor and activists said.

"The attack has started from several directions; there are fierce battles," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The assailants had detonated at least two suicide car bombs at checkpoints outside the city in a bid to advance.

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French primary school principal admits sex assaults on his pupils

A primary school head teacher confessed on Tuesday to having tricked blindfolded pupils into oral sex during a workshop on experiencing new tastes, according to prosecutors.

The confession followed earlier revelations the suspect obtained his job working with young children despite a 2008 conviction for possessing child pornography.

Prosecutors said the school principal, an unidentified 45-year-old father, forced at least two pupils to perform oral sex acts on him during the workshop. The activity involved children wearing blindfolds and describing items they were given to taste.

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Jolie surgery 'dramatically' lowers cancer risk: Experts

It is a hard personal choice, but removing healthy fallopian tubes and ovaries effectively slashes the cancer odds for women like Angelina Jolie who carry a risk-boosting gene mutation, experts said Tuesday.

Carriers like the Hollywood star, who has had the surgery two years after a selective double mastectomy, face a "sky-high" risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, said Per Hall, an oncologist at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet.

Hall told AFP he would "absolutely" advise women who carry the inheritable BRCA1 gene alteration to consider preemptive surgery.

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